Are Internet Phone, Broadband Phone, Digital Voice, and VoIP Different?

Okay, who out there is confused by the new phone services that seem to be popping up daily in TV commercials, magazines and on-line advertisements? In particular the different names their highly paid marketing teams use to describe their phone service?

Let's see what phone service names are used by the main service providers these days, often on prime time TV commercials.

What is going on?

Yes it is crazy folks, we know, everyone is getting confused. However here is the most important piece of information in this entire article - the names above all refer to the exact same technology, that being a digital phone service that uses the Internet to send and receive phone calls.

Now in fairness we could be described as hypocrites here. Take a look at our site. What do you see? You will likely see reference to all of these different terminologies.

Yes we are guilty of doing this too. However in all honesty we did start with the plain old VoIP name because at that time this is what the name was for transmitting your voice over the Internet. Makes sense if you think about it, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). Internet Protocol is the protocol used to send everything over the Internet backbone. The problem for us is we have to keep dropping in other names for this form of phone service as otherwise some of our readers get confused. For example, perhaps they have never heard of VoIP but have heard of Internet Phone Service.

The problem, in our opinion, is that as time has passed the marketing team for each service provider has put their own spin on it to make it appear like it is a different form of phone service. There are a few reasons for this:

To re-iterate, the name used by providers is kind of irrelevant, all of them are using the same core VoIP technology for phone service. They each handle your calls by breaking up your voice into small digital packets and sending them over your Broadband Internet connection. Look at the words in the last two sentences and it is easy to see how the marketing folks end up with all of the variations we see today.

So are there really no differences? Providing your Internet has high enough speed and is reliable you should get good quality phone service from all of the service providers. We always recommend to test out your Internet before you choose VoIP. You can do this by running our VoIP test.

The likes of Comcast and Verizon promote the fact that they can put everything on to one bill which is definitely convenient and in the case of Comcast they have a "Triple Play" package, providing TV, Phone Service and High Speed Internet all on one bill. This is certainly nice to have although keep in mind that you will typically pay a price premium for this over the standalone service providers such as Phone Power, Viatalk and ITP. It is through these service providers that you will achieve the best savings, in our opinion. Our article on triple play, a good deal or not, may help you here.

Hopefully you are a little clearer now on all of the names used for this form of phone service. Many different ways to name them but ultimately they are all the same.

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WhichVoIP Visitor Comments

#1 : Posted by Thue Rasmussen

We have comcast/xfinity for TV reception; and internet access comes either from comcast also or from CenturyLink. Would either of these carriers allow us or facilitate our receiving phone service via phone power or VoIPo?

-> Response: Absolutely Thue, in fact that is what I have at home. It is much lower cost than using Comcast for TV/Broadband and voice (i.e. triple play). Maybe in short term it is close in price but once the triple play special discount ends, your phone bill will jump up in price big time.


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